#HAWMC 24 writer’s choice 2: Black Box — a female House with bipolar disorder

By default, we get the landlady’s daily news paper. We go through them, keeping some sections, recycling others right away. I don’t often, for some reason, take apart the paper with the TV section which we don’t read or use. It comes with the Tuesday edition. The post is long, but I think worth reading not because of my writing, but because of the content

One of those “the cosmos are turning as they should” moments when I happened to actually look at the cover this morning. A gorgeous woman graces the cover with this text:

Going inside her head. Kelly Reilly plays a world-famous neurologist who attempts to unravel the mysteries of the brain while hiding her own secret: She’s bipolar. The weekly drama “Black Box” premiers at 10 pm Thursday (April 24) on ABC. Story, page 5.

Of course, this caught my eye. A bipolar character – a chronic mental illness – as the star of the show. I had to read the story on page 5 so here come some more quotes.

From page 5:

When she’s on her medications, Dr. Catherine Black is brilliant. Off her meds, she may be even more brilliant, but she’s dangerous, at least to herself.

That’s the tension of ABC’s newest medical procedural, “Black Box”premiering Thursday, April 24. Black (Kelly Reilly) is a neurologist and medical director of a neurological center knows as The Cube.

Black is gorgeous and involved with two dashing men. She also happens to be bipolar, which she keeps a secret at work.

Her dilemma is whether she wants to live a proscribed life, on many medications and engaged to her restaurateur boyfriend, or off them, riding the waves of inspiration that engulf her and having fierce sex with other men. When manic, she loves life on the edge, and she gets so perilously close, it’s evitable she will fall. Yet, it’s then that she feels completely alive.

[during an interview with Kelly Reilly] There’s the medicated and the unmedicated side of her. There’s the side that is nurturing and loving and the side that wants to break everything in the room.

The article goes on about a second plot line of Dr. Black who gave her baby to her brother and sister-in-law to raise. Now a teenager, Esme may be exhibiting signs of being bipolar.

It’s one of those shows that I do/don’t want to watch. Historical movies and television shows have me critiquing the characterization of the time, the people, the sets. In other words, I’m no fun with these – there is a lot of head-shaking on my part, even if academics and authors have been consulted. Good thing we only have one level up from basic cable, or I’d have a lot more critiquing to do!

Of course, the main character would be gorgeous, lusted after by male characters, be a brilliant neurologist looking into the workings of the brain on the medication and brilliant free spirit looking for sex off her meds.

Not that bipolar people aren’t like that, it’s just I’m not sure I could watch without squirming. I’m sure (or I hope) there were mental health professionals, neurologists, etc. consulted for the script. But this isn’t the type of television show I watch. My tastes are eclectic, but rarely involve the original channels.

Will I watch tonight? Depends on what we usually watch at 10:00 and I can be sure that hubby would not be interested despite the mental health issues connection. He’s not into steamy, story-line television shows, and really neither am I (confession is good for the soul time)

PS: I just visited the show’s website with more about the characters and story lines. At least Dr. Black is seeing a psychiatrist who knows all the secrets she keeps from family, friends, and co-workers.

One more quote, this from the website:

Catherine and the staff of “The Cube” will constantly be challenged by cases never seen before on television. The patients have rare, highly visual, often hallucinogenic and startling conditions, which we will see through their eyes as Catherine diagnoses and treats them.

A female “House” perhaps?


4 thoughts on “#HAWMC 24 writer’s choice 2: Black Box — a female House with bipolar disorder

  1. LaLindaArtStudio April 25, 2014 / 5:10 pm

    It was not something I will watch again. I thought it was a bit unbelievable, and way over acted.


    • phylor April 25, 2014 / 9:31 pm

      Thanks for the review! I decided not to watch. The more I read the story line, the more I thought — how “realistic” is this going to be.
      And, if it’s overacted, too, well I’m glad I gave it a pass.
      I image many folks will have the same reaction as you!


  2. phylor April 25, 2014 / 4:16 am

    I understand the medication dilemma, and the creativity that comes with the disorder. I always get a little nervous when tv or the movies hit upon a new “disorder” or such, and then run with scissors when turning it into scripts, plots, story lines and characters.
    While I think it’s good to draw attention to bipolar (and the decisions people face concerning medication), I wonder how it will actually be portrayed. Did someone decide they wanted a female version of House, and then attach bipolar as her mental health issue? Will the real issues and realities of having bipolar be accurately written, or is it just part of character development and story arc in what sounds like most tv dramas. I’m going to be real interested in post-show responses!


  3. LaLindaArtStudio April 24, 2014 / 5:06 pm

    I will probably give it a watch, but with a critical bi-polar eye. I can understand the premise, as I refuse to medicate because it makes me feel like a zombie. I would rather be a little wack, than lose myself and my creativity. Not sure I can watch the self harm train wreck though.


I love dialogue. Do you?

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